New device filters blood supplies on-site reducing the possible transmission of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease

ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. has announced today that its joint venture with the American Red Cross, Pathogen Removal and Diagnostic Technology Inc. ("PRDT"), has confirmed that treatment of TSE spiked red blood cell concentrate with its Prion Reduction Device results in a significant decrease in associated infectivity.

This unique product, which is aimed at filtration of donor blood supplies on-site at blood transfusion centers, reduces the possible transmission of the fatal variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease ("vCJD"), the human form of mad cow disease. "These results are highly encouraging.

The study conducted by Dr. R. G. Rohwer, Director of Molecular Neurovirology, VA Medical Research Service of the University of Maryland, confirmed that PRDT's device removes the infectious prion protein to the limit of detection by in-vitro techniques and significantly reduces the level of infectivity in in-vivo models," stated Peter Edwardson, PRDT's Project Director.

Targeting a Significant Market PRDT's Prion Reduction Device is designed to assist blood transfusion services around the world in maintaining the safety of blood and blood products. It targets prions, proteins responsible for mad cow disease and the human form, variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. "This is great news for the blood industry," stated Christopher Lamb, Senior Vice President, American Red Cross, Plasma Services and President of PRDT. "This device will represent an important additional safety step to already rigorous blood handling procedures in those countries where vCJD is perceived as a risk to the blood supply. We intent to make this device available as quickly as possible." Given the broad exposure of the UK population to infected beef in the 1980s and 1990's, the recent possible human transfusion transmission in the UK, vCJD is a serious threat which reinforces the need for diagnostic and removal solutions.

As a single-use filter, this device could eventually be sold in the millions, since over 35 million units of red blood cells are transfused annually in the U.S., Europe and Japan. First Generation Product For a number of years, ProMetic has been developing a program based on its proprietary Mimetic Ligands technology to remove prions from blood and other biopharmaceutical products. This program has been finalized over the past two years by Pathogen Removal and Diagnostic Technologies Inc. ("PRDT"), a joint venture with the American Red Cross. In November 2003 PRDT announced final stage of development of the world's first product designed to selectively reduce the infectivity of Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies, as well as any other type of biological material.

To increase the safety of blood and blood-derived products, this gel will be sold to the blood-plasma, biopharmaceutical, food, cosmetics and personal care product industries, all of which are using biologically-derived products. Other Pathogens "These two unique products offer PRDT tremendous market opportunities," stated Pierre Laurin, President and Chief Executive Officer of ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. "We are actively working on additional applications allowing us to provide various filters to remove and detect different pathogens, a growing and barely untapped market for which our technology is perfectly suited." Pathogen Removal and Diagnostic Technology Inc.

PRDT is a joint venture company set up in April 2002 by the American Red Cross and ProMetic Life Sciences Inc. PRDT allows for a reciprocal exchange of technology and a knowledge base developed between the American Red Cross and ProMetic. PRDT main goal is to develop products and devices to remove and detect different pathogens from biological sources.

This research augments work that ProMetic, the American Red Cross and PRDT's scientific founders have been conducting independently for many years. ProMetic's platform technology can distinguish between very similar proteins (e.g. human serum albumin vs. bovine serum albumin, glycated/glycosylated hemoglobin vs. hemoglobin). Additionally, ProMetic's technology is designed to meet stringent commercial requirements. ProMetic also has a solid and unique knowledge base to deal with both removal and purification systems for the large-scale manufacturing of biopharmaceuticals, as well as diagnostics.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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